their sinful nature separated them from God, who is holy (the opposite of sinful), and that they therefore were dead in their sins, unable to have peace with God. In other words, the payment for sin is death - eternal separation from God. They also realize that they could not make peace with God by trying to measure up to His standard of holiness - for example by following rules and regulations or by doing good works. And they learned that
God nevertheless desired to have peace with man, and that God therefore …show more content…
I emphasize grace plus nothing because there has always been a tendency in the body of Christ to preach salvation by grace through faith and then to attempt sanctification and holiness through every imaginable form of legalism.
Certainly the Lord calls every Christian to press into sanctification and holiness, but neither happens apart from grace:
Legalism - the attempt to justify ourselves before God through good works - can never satisfy God.
Therefore, sanctification is by grace: "For sin shall not master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace... those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." (Romans 6:14; 5:17 )
Christians need to be taught to completely forsake any performance basis for relating to God and to forever embrace the grace basis, carefully avoiding the error of cheap grace in the process.
The grace of God is neither legalistic nor cheap. One of my most important objectives is to help you define and avoid both distortions. In a nutshell, legalism means any attempt to earn right standing before God based on our performance or good works, while cheap grace refers to the all too common misconception that we can accept Jesus as our Savior and yet somehow simultaneously avoid his lordship.
In our generation many Christians fear cheap grace so much that